Burning issue: April 2019

April 2, 2019

What are your thoughts on the forthcoming North of Tyne mayoral election – and what impact do you think the election will have on business in the area and the wider North East?

Sarah Hall (pictured)
Managing director, Sarah Hall Consulting Ltd Vice president, CIPR

The North of Tyne mayoral election is important because it will bring greater decision-making powers and more say over how funding is used locally. However, success is dependent on the right person being elected. We need someone credible and dependable with solid policies, experience of working with local and central government and who can be apolitical to put the collective interest first. This person needs to be able to champion our interests, make our voice heard nationally and think long-term rather than focus on projects. As Brexit has taught us, self-serving slogans and false promises get us nowhere; time to learn from the last three years.

Sarah Glendinning
North East regional director, CBI

Devolution of power to our new mayor represents a great opportunity to make sure decisions affecting our businesses are taken at local level. Productivity in the North East is almost a third lower than in London and addressing this disparity must be a priority for the metro mayor. Our economy would also benefit from increased recognition on the international stage and raising our profile is vital for the mayor. The CBI regional council is made up of some of the most senior business leaders in the North East and we look forward to hearing how the candidates will meet these challenges.

Chris Price
Commercial director, Aptus Fit Out

The impact depends on whether the new mayor believes that supporting the private sector is important and underpins wider growth. With Brexit looming, it would be fantastic to see a strong figurehead with commercial experience who can fly the flag for the region and help unlock new investment for infrastructure, public transport, education and skills. I want to see our new mayor make things happen without the burden of political bureaucracy. It would make a refreshing change to have an ambassador driving economic growth and competing with our neighbouring cities for commercial opportunities, job creation and wealth generation for the North East.

Lyndsey Britton
Co-founder and CEO, 50:50 Future Ltd

The new elected mayor will have the opportunity to shape the future of the area, and the wider region – not just by accessing more investment but also shaping the way we do business and value we place on all of our people. At 50:50, our vision is to have gender balance in workplaces, because this makes good business sense, diversity equals more profitable businesses, and ultimately will help build a strong, successful economy. The elected mayor has the opportunity to make a real difference by ensuring women have the opportunity to fulfil their potential and truly create a strong, innovative business community that everyone can contribute to.